The Acting Premier James Merlino this afternoon (Wednesday June 16) has announced a further easing of the circuit breaker restrictions for Victoria, starting from midnight tomorrow tonight. That means that from Friday June 18 through to the end of Thursday June 22 Metropolitan Melbourne is close to the conditions in place last week in Regional Victoria.

See today’s statement from the Acting Premier.

People can leave home for any reason. The 25 km limit has been removed. Masks are no longer required outside unless 1.5 metre distancing is not possible.

We still have some limitations for how we gather.

1. Religious gatherings (worship services, prayer meetings, youth groups, Bible study groups, committee meetings etc) are limited in size to 4 square metres per person, with a maximum of 150 people per venue, with up to 75 inside. This is likely to increase to 300 and 150 next week.
2. Funerals are limited to 75 people plus those necessary to conduct the funeral. Children under 12 months old are not counted towards this cap.
3. Weddings (indoor and outdoor) are permitted with no more than 20 people (including the two persons being married, celebrant, and two witnesses).

The Synod’s Frequently Asked Questions document has been updated today and can be downloaded from the VicTas Synod Frequently Asked Questions site.

The Synod Crisis Management Team FAQ document has some helpful clarifications. Here’s three of them:

  1. As PER VENUE has been specifically stated, having more than 50 people split into separate inside areas does not seem to be an option currently.
  2. Synod’s Crisis Management team is not currently encouraging morning tea after gatherings, as the removal of masks for eating and drinking increases the possibility of COVID transmission. However, as seated service is currently available in cafes etc for up to 50 people, it is possible to gather for morning tea, providing all attendees remain seated and socially distanced. The same density quotient and maximum numbers would apply as for the worship service (or other gathering). All food and drink would need to be served, rather than buffet style.
  3. Singing is permitted, but facemarks but be worn at all times.
  4. If an organisation or individual rents space, the government guidelines for the conduct of that particular category of business would apply. So if they are only allowed 10 people per group (for example creative studios, community facilities)

Thinking Ahead

Remember that planned moves to have the size limit for church gatherings increased to 200 will depend on having the Service Victoria QR code displayed, and at least one person on duty as COVID marshall. See our Presbytery’s COVID Marshall template covering responsibilities for set up team, front of house and cleaning team.